Lecture on February 26th: Attitudes and Behaviors

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Psychology & Brain Sciences
John Bickford

Social Psychology, Lecture on February 26th Attitudes and Behaviors Attitude: a positive, negative, or mixed evaluation of people, objects, or ideas. Where do attitudes come from? Classical conditioning,  pairing the attitude object with a positive or negative experiences  Krosnick 1992, subliminal conditioning o Show photos of strangers and flash subliminal images that evoke certain feelings ( a picture of a werewolf, a party, newly weds, open heart surgery). Operant conditioning,  reinforcement or punishment for expressing a given attitude Observational learning,  exposure to models Social comparison,  do our views agree with the views of others? o clue to accuracy o validation  people like or respect influence our attitudes Direct experience,  liking something because it had positive experience (or vice-versa)  self-perception theory (D. Bem, 1967) o examining your own behavior to infer your attitude Knowledge function,  helps organize and structure knowledge about the world  attitudes aid in the interpretation of new stimuli o enables rapid reasoning to attitude relevant information  rapid evaluative judgments o good or bad; approach or avoid Instrumental function,  maximize rewards and minimize punishments Identity expressive function,  attitudes facilitate expression of central values or beliefs  Fleming and petty (2000) o students high or low in gender-group identification o presented new snack product o independent variable: described as "men's favorite snack food" or "women's favorite snack food" o dependent variable: liking for product o results: for people low in group identification, description made no difference. For people high in gender group identification, liking was higher when product described as favored by own gender group. Self-esteem function,  consistent with social comparison o knowing "we are right" by holding attitudes that are validated by others o holding attitudes with a strong moral co
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